This is the fifth article in the “Bringing Our Time to Life” series, highlighting how U of G is taking action on our strategic plan. View all Strategic Plan stories. 

Our ability as a University to achieve our ambitious strategic plan relies on the ingenuity and hard work of dedicated, skilled, and well-supported faculty and staff. That’s why supporting faculty and staff success is an integral part of Our Time: University of Guelph Strategic Plan 2022-27. 

U of G strives to be a workplace of choice by fostering a fulfilling and rewarding environment for faculty and staff as they work independently and collaboratively to advance our collective goals. This involves retaining and recruiting exceptional staff, enabling them to cultivate their talents while fulfilling their professional goals, and celebrating their achievements, big and small.  

Learn more about the ways we are supporting faculty and staff success at U of G. 

“G” Thanks! program recognizes outstanding faculty and staff 

G Thanks.At the U of G, recognizing the invaluable contributions of faculty and staff is more than a value—it’s a commitment. The GREAT at U of G’s “G” Thanks! Program, launched in 2021, has become a beacon of gratitude and recognition, celebrating 37 remarkable individuals to date. With over 400 faculty and staff participating, the initiative highlights our collective effort to support and acknowledge the hard work and dedication that contributes to the university’s success. 

In March 2024, the spotlight fell on Sara Stephens from Faculty and Academic Staff Relations, who received a well-deserved nomination for the “G” Thanks! award. Nominated by Adrianne Arnold, Sara embodies qualities that inspire: she is hardworking, diligent, and thoughtful. Despite a demanding workload, Sara remains steadfast in her pursuit of excellence. Her warm encouragement and compliments uplift those around her, making her a true gem within our administrative community. Thank you to all those who rallied to celebrate Sara and her contributions! 

Staff and faculty can submit a “G”Thanks! Nomination at any time to recognize and appreciate their colleagues. Winners are randomly selected on a monthly basis. 

Personal Leadership at Work program enables faculty and staff to discover their path to professional success 

Participants engage in the personal leadership at work workshop. They stand in a line parallel to a piece of rope laid out on the ground listening to instructions.
The first Personal Leadership at Work cohort in 2009.

HR Learning & Development’s Personal Leadership at Work Program is celebrating 15 years, enabling faculty and staff to enhance their relationships and discover their path to success in the workplace. “Leadership is not a position or title. It is an outlook, a way of looking at the world and ourselves in it,” says Linda Watt, Director of HR Learning & Development. 

Since 2009, over 350 U of G employees have joined to deepen their understanding of their experiences, habits and behaviours. Through self-assessment, debriefs, and peer learning, participants examine their emotional reactions and interactions with their colleagues and use those insights to build stronger relationships and achieve their professional goals. After completing the workshop, participants have been excited to apply the learnings to their role, saying “I have the tools within to make choices every day to become the leader I want to be in my role here at the University of Guelph” and “I feel rejuvenated and I want to go back into my environment and make an impact.” 

The Fall 2024 Personal Leadership at Work Cohort is now open for registration.  HR Learning & Development will be accepting 25 employees for this two-day program running from October to December. 

Wellness@Work grant program funds employee wellness initiatives 

The Wellness@Work initiative was launched at U of G with a vision for a thriving workforce, organization, and community, supporting the well-being of the whole person through health promotion. Each year the Wellness@Work Grant Program funds employees’ ideas to promote wellness in their workplace. Since the Wellness@Work grant program launched in 2018, over $160,000 have funded 160 unique grant programs, including: 

  • A wellness retreat for the IndigenERA lab in the department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics centred on how to create and maintain positive relationships with each other and Indigenous community partners. 
  • A learn to play pickleball program that started as a cross-campus collaboration between colleagues in Student Housing Services and Human Resources and is now a Pickleball Recess League run by Athletics and Recreation. 
  • A health workshop for the Black Faculty and Staff Network to discuss the unique health needs of their members. 

Interest in the grant program has remained high over the years as employees continue to champion wellness initiatives with creativity and thoughtfulness. For the 2024-2025 grant year, Wellness@Work has increased its grant program budget allocation by 33 per cent to meet the increased need for workplace health promotion at U of G. Additionally, this year the University of Guelph-Humber has allocated and invested funds for grant initiatives that are planned and implemented at Guelph-Humber’s campus in Toronto. 

Skills for Research Impact workshop series teaches effective knowledge mobilization 

Skills for research impact. A lightbulb emits colourful lines in a graphic drawing.To support faculty, research staff and graduate students interested in enhancing the impact of their research, the Office of Research, through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and the Research Innovation Office, offers the Skills for Research Impact workshop series. Spanning the fall and winter semesters, the sessions are facilitated by impact experts and cover topics on effective research communications and knowledge mobilization strategies. 

This past year, 453 faculty, staff, and students participated in the sessions to improve the impact of their research. Participants surveyed found the sessions offered practical tips with relevant topics from knowledgeable and experienced presenters, saying “I really enjoyed the sessions. Knowledge translation is something I have always been interested in, so it was a great way to learn from experts” and “I liked when activities were included that allowed me to actually apply the skills we were being taught.” 

McLaughlin Library takes meaningful steps to improve wellness and accessibility 

The McLachlin Library exterior on a sunny daySeveral unique practices at the McLaughlin Library support library employees and improve wellness and accessibility. Starting with recruitment, the library provides interview questions in advance to all interviewees, allowing candidates the time to think through thoughtful responses and examples they can speak to in the interviews. Once employees are hired, the Library Employee Orientation Committee, made up of volunteers from across the library, helps new staff connect and adjust to their new workplace. 

The library also has practices to help employees be productive and create healthy boundaries at work. These include meeting and email charters outlining how employees are to approach meetings and emails, as well as designated “Focus Fridays,” striving to minimize meetings and emails on Fridays so employees can dive into focused work. To support the ongoing development of employees and new managers, there are mentorship opportunities within the library and Professional Development Grants that staff can access for personal development. 

These are just a few examples of the many ways our campus community is realizing the vision laid out in Our Time.  

Have a suggestion of research, an initiative, an individual or a program we should feature? Email campusnews@uoguelph.ca.